SchoolArts Magazine

February 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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T H E O P E N A R T R O O M I magine an art teacher sitting down to write a set of unit plans for the upcoming school year. She stares at the blinking cursor on her com - puter screen, trying to decide how to organize the units. First, she considers media. Her units could be divided into drawing, painting, printmaking, and clay. She soon realizes that this is too limiting. What if she wants to teach about color and runs out of paint? She turns her focus on the elements and principles. Her lessons could be based on value, color, space, and form. This seems more reasonable because her ability to teach wouldn't be con - trolled by whether she had a particular medium. Still, it seems limiting. She wonders how she could cover topics such as problem solving, collaboration, and appropriation, while still teach - ing the elements and principles and incorporating any media. The answer: Artistic Behavior Units. What Are Artistic Behavior Units? The best way to consider Artistic Behavior Units is to think about the things artists do when they create art. For example: artists observe, artists solve problems, and artists collabo- rate. These are all good examples of how artists work, and each of these artistic behaviors can be presented to students as a unit. When an art teacher presents an artistic behavior unit, he or she is allowing the student to move beyond the limitations of a media or a unit based on the elements and principles. Students will still make decisions about what media they will use, and they will still incorporate the elements and principles, but now the student will be exposed to a third element— how to think and work as an artist. The following page contains the framework for writing an Artistic Behavior Unit plan. The template fol- lows the basic format of the Artistic Thinking Process model—inspiration, design, creation, and reflection. Ian Sands is a visual arts instructor at South Brunswick High School in South- port, North Carolina, and co-author of The Open Art Room, now available from Davis Publications. ArtofSouthB.com How to Write an Artistic Behavior Unit Ian Sands See the Artistic Behavior Unit Plan Template on the opposite page. This artwork resulted from a one-da hallenge as part of the unit Artists Collect & S nthesize. Students walked around their school, collected a unk the ould find, and created a work of art. Additional Artistic Behavior Units The Open Art Room contains several complete unit plans tha ou ma on- sider using wit our students. Here are some unit plan title ou ma hoose to use as a starting point: Artists Observe, Artists Steal, Artists Solve Problems, Artists Collaborate, Art- ists Tell Stories, Artists Communicate, Artists Are Self-Learners, Artists Collect & S nthesize, Artists Impact their Commu- nit , Artists Make the Viewer Think, Art- ists Are Self-Promoters, Artists Pla ith Materials, Artists Curate 12 FEBRUARY 2018 SchoolArts

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